Internships Can Emerge in a Variety of Ways

  1. Organizations may have very specific internship opportunities, job descriptions, and application processes (an example of this is the NBC Olympics)
  2. Sometimes, we have relationships with organizations that can use communications and media skills in a variety of ways and they are open to what a student wants to do.  OR, there are times when a specific need arises in an organization and they seek an intern to assist them.
  3. In other cases, students "pitch" an internship possibility to an organization.  A student might come into contact with an individual or company and can suggest ways in which they could help through an internship.  Then someone from the organization works with the student and the faculty or staff internship sponsor to craft the description and expectations.

Before you see the professional development coordinator, do your research and check out IC's Internship and Job Database. 

It's important to figure out exactly what opportunities you'll have in an internship.  Just working for a "big name" company or on a big film shoot may seem tempting, but if all they can offer you is getting coffee and coiling cables, you soon will be quite unhappy. 

An effective internship provides you the structure, support, and job duties that help you grow while also helping the employing organization. You can assess whether an internship is a good opportunity by examining the recruitment materials and paying attention to clues during the interview process. The internship should have a job description that focuses on specific duties, including the opportunity to support projects and not just perform small tasks. Interns should be supervised by a professional staff member, with structured opportunities for feedback and training. You can also read internship reviews online, if you are applying to a large organization.

PAID OR UNPAID??

While many internships in non-profit organizations and governmental agencies are unpaid, for-profit organizations must pay you unless they meet standards established by the U.S. Department of Labor.  Ithaca College doesn't care whether you are paid or not if you are seeking credit.

Paid vs. Unpaid - U.S. Department of Labor – Fact Sheet https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

ONSITE OR VIRTUAL?

The vast majority of our internships for credit take place on site at a company or production location.  In addition to performing your work duties, we want you to be able to observe the culture of the organization and sit in on meetings and other activities to observe.  Merely working from your dorm room or home on your laptop may give you some good resume material, but you'll lack the contact with other professionals that's so important.  We do approve some virtual internships, but generally only when there is some opportunity to at least meet the supervisor in person and have some contact with the actual workplace.  In virtual internships, students may often engage in virtual meetings along with other regular employees - these are also great learning opportunities because remote / virtual work is certainly on the rise.

BEWARE OF SCAMS!

Make sure to work with the Park Professional Development Coordinator or faculty member if the internship is a distance opportunity, you cannot find company information online, it has a residential address instead of a business address, requires fees or out of pocket expenses, or asks you to cash checks. Never provide your social security number or bank account information unless you have been officially hired and the person who requests the information is the organization's human resources representative.